We have an interesting battle here today folks, as two titans of tallness enter the ring to wage war! In the corner to my left we have the 2003 version of Don Fulton, slightly thinner and sporting a tad more hair than his opponent, this version of Fulton possesses a sarcastic tongue, an incredibly bad attitude and a selfish desire for living a life of leisure. In the corner to my right, his opponent, the 2011 version of Don Fulton, a man living life for the Lord and his family. What he lacks in hair he makes up for in compassion for others. This has all the makings of a battle royale!
At least that’s how I imagine the ringside announcer would call it.
The setting: Friday morning watering our lawn.
The situation: Our aging front yard garden hose has been subjected to years of kinks and the inner lining is hemoraging and about to burst. In what had to be one of my Top 10 Moments of Stupidity, I point-out the issue to Samantha but rather than simply looking with my eyes and not my hands I jab my index finger into the hose’s problem area and just like a gigantic water zit, the hose bursts and gallons of chilly water that had been building up within the hose drenches me from head to toe.
At issue: How to respond.
Old Don had a standard response to this situation. There would be lots of cussing and something would get thrown. I would yell and stomp and generally be a danger to society, and pretty much the worst thing a bystander could do in this situation is laugh. Friends past and present, family members living and deceased, old girlfriends, an ex-wife, fellow employees and of course my lovely Samantha have all felt the wrath of me going all Mount Vesuvius because they chuckled at something funny that was more frustrating than humorous to me. Oh the tantrums I’ve thrown. Oh the relationships I’ve destroyed….
Looking around our front yard and driveway area today I could definitely see things I would have kicked (the garage door and the family van) and things I would have chucked (Trevor’s shoes that were on the porch and probably one of the blue plastic chairs). And did I mention that Sam laughed at the sight of the hose bursting and water going every which way?
Oh the things I would have said! The sailors I would have impressed!
Thankfully the new and improved (but far from perfect) version of me was present this day.
When the hose violently burst and water gushed up my nose and soaked my crotch with a freezing spray I at first simply struggled to control the out of control weapon of mass frustration. But it was no use. There was so much water built up in the hemorraging portion that it was going to take some time to finish soaking me, my car, Trevor’s window and the front porch. Sam screamed when it first happened and then asked what she could do. I motioned for her to turn off the hose, which she did, and within a few moments the gushing stopped, the geyser calmed and then something quite wonderful prevailed.
Our collective laughter.
Samantha, laughing at what was just a ridiculous and funny sight to behold, and me, cracking-up at the hilarity of it all. It was great that my stupidity and humility finally got a chance to meet and have a good old laugh about things. It was nice to not be taking myself so serious that I’d feel the need to fly into a rage and ruin our day, our week….our Christmas.
The old version of me is a beast. He is never far away so that I can be reminded of my former self, but he’s no longer the dominating force in my life. He was a destroyer of relationships and he robbed me of so much joy in life that there are moments of quiet reflection today that sees me mourning my thoughtless words, actions and tantrums of the past.
I can’t take any of them back but I can certainly learn from them.
An unexpected freezing-cold shower from a ruptured garden hose was a blessing to me. It was another moment in my life when I had a split second to decide which way to go and I chose the path of the righteous. I chose gentleness and self-control. Not sure if you recall a post not too long ago when I revealed a similar situation in a familiar setting (front lawn, man dragging his dog across the newly-planted lawn) and I chose harshness and no control. If you read that post you will also likely recall that God gave me a second chance and the neighbor returned to the lawn and I had the chance to apologize. I feel like this more recent situation is the likely successor of that earlier encounter. A third chance to react appropriately. Another opportunity to not take everything so seriously.
Another in a long line of scenarios where I can exercise restraint, peace, kindness and goodness.
I’m so thankful for a God of second, third and 50th chances. I’m so happy to finally be laughing at myself. I know there will be moments in the future when the old version will rear its ugly head and I’ll be faced with a difficult decision – Do I lash-out or do I choose Love?
The decision is an easy one. Let’s just hope that I choose wisely.
Speaking of choosing wisely, any idea where I can pick up a reliable kink-free garden hose?